Friday, June 30, 2006

NASCAR coming to Canada

NASCAR has been looking to run a race in Canada for the last year. Bob Margolis of Yahoo Sports reports that NASCAR will bring the Busch Series to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal on July 21, 2007. Like the Busch Series race in Mexico City in March, this will be a stand alone race on a Nextel Cup off weekend. This way the Nextel Cup regulars who race the Busch Series like Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle & Carl Edwards can race in Montreal without conflict. Apparently the Nextel Cup & Busch Series races in New Hampshire will be moved to July 1 to accomodate this race and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona will be moved to July 7. The mid summer Busch Series race normally held at Gateway in St. Louis will be moved to cooler weather in either the spring or fall. As soon as NASCAR confirms a date for the St. Louis race, they will announce all of the other races.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane
Song:My Favourite Things
Album:One Up, One Down:Live At The Half Note

These newly released recordings were recorded live for radio broadcast in 1965. There are two CDs. The first was recorded in March 1965, the second in May. It features the classic Coltrane quartet;John Coltrane on sax, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass & Elvin Jones on drums. They are at the top of their game. It's amazing what can be found in record company vaults sometimes.

I have an opthamologist appointment this morning. Gotta get new glasses.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yabushita coming to the US

Ring Of Combat has announced that Laura D'Auguste will defend her ROC Welterweight Title on July 7 in Atlantic City against Megumi Yabushita. D'Auguste is 6-0 and her last win was last August in Smackgirl in Japan over the very same Yabushita. Of course Yabushita is well known in Japan for her MMA & pro wrestling exploits. She's been very busy running her new dojo and worked two pro wrestling shows last weekend (one under a mask). Yabushita will be looking to avenge her defeat to D'Auguste.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Temptations
Song:Ain't Too Proud To Beg

Of course The Temptations are one of the greatest vocal groups in pop music history and were a tentpole of the Motown Sound. They were actually a merger of two Detroit doo wop groups and then Otis Williams brought Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin into the group. Smokey Robinson wrote & produced a lot of their hits but Ain't Too Proud To Beg was written & produced by Eddie Holland & Norman Whitfield. Ruffin delivers a great lead vocal. I believe the 2CD Anthology is now out of print but there are plenty of Temptations comps available including the 5CD box set Emperors Of Soul. I have that one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mika Nishio update

Mika Nishio went home to visit her mother over the weekend. This was her first extended leave from hospital and indicates that she will probably be discharged in the near future. Not surprisingly, she was pooped out when she returned to the hospital and she caught a cold on Tuesday. She said she was looking around for someplace near her mom's house where she could continue physiotherapy and massage therapy.

Sachie Abe turns heel at T-1 GP show

The latest T-1 GP show was held at the Tokyo Battle Sphere on June 24. But first I have great news. T-1 president Futami now has a blog on Sportsnavi. Well, maybe that's not such great news. If you want to check it out, here's the url His first entry was a rant about his supposed feud with the now retired Kumiko Maekawa. This is in his mind. Maekawa has said nothing and I doubt that she ever will. He used the blog to announce the addition of Yumiko Hotta to the main event. Then he tried to have another press conference at his store on June 23. Shark Tsuchiya was a no show but Sachie Abe was there basically to get into an argument with Futami. This is the wrestling business so you know something is up.

So the main event of this show was T-1 Mask No. 1 (Amazing Kong), T-1 Mask No. 2 (Megumi Yabushita) & Shark Tsuchiya (needs a mask) vs Yumiko Hotta, Sachie Abe & rookie Yasusato Nakajima. You have to feel bad for the rookie in this nonsense. The T-1 team won in 13:06 when Shark used a Greco Roman fireball on Hotta for the win. Paging The Original Sheik! Then the unthinkable happened. After the match, Sachie Abe turned on her old pal Hotta. Can you believe that? I've been familiar with Abe for several years and she's OK. But I don't recall her ever being a heel in her ten year career. She even smiles while she's having the crap kicked out of her. And we all love Hotta so much that I'm sure she'll make a great face. NOT! Futami is trying to sell this as Hotta being all alone with no one on her side. Well, I told you this would be good for a laugh. I guess we'll have to wait to see how this progresses and I will keep an eye on Futami's blog for his future blather.

Ayako wears white at GIRLS DOOR show

GIRLS DOOR had their latest show at Edogawa University on June 25. A couple of things to remember about this promotion. First, it is owned by the same company that owns the Smackgirl womens MMA fed. This means they're loaded and one of the benefits of this is they can afford to run tours outside Tokyo. They started last fall and the shows seem to be improving. There was only one masked wrestler on this show and everybody knows her. Also, El Gran Hamada is producing the shows. Guess who's in the main event, not that it's a bad thing.

Kaoru Ito teamed with Kyoko Kimura against Manami Toyota & Cherry. Ito won over Cherry with the diving foot stomp at 20:49. Apparently, Cherry screamed so loudly that it could be heard over crowd noise. I guess Cherry may not be a very good wrestler but is a good screamer. Rookie idol wrestlers teaming with veterans is pretty common these days. At least the veterans will carry the match so it won't be too bad. Michiko Ohmukai & Nozomi Takesako vs Megumi Yabushita & Lily Urai was a very similar match. Takesako won over Urai in 13:40.

The main event had Ayako Hamada vs noki-A. For those who don't know, noki-A is AKINO as a masked heel that she used to do in ARSION a few years ago. And of course these two were a great tag team in ARSION too. The big deal here is that Ayako wore white. She has been wearing black a lot recently in an effort to become a heel. But the way things are in the joshi business today, it's very difficult to get over consistently in any way. But I like Ayako and it's good to see her in white again. Ayako won the match with the AP Cross in 15:51. The next GIRLS DOOR show will be in the parking lot of a bicycle race track on July 16.

June 23 THE WOMAN show

GAMI's THE WOMAN had their latest show June 23 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Just a couple of notes from the show. The way things have been going for Hikaru lately, she must be wondering what she has to do to elevate her status in the joshi business. It's always one step forward, two steps back. Hikaru's opponent on this show was Michiko Ohmukai. Ohmukai won with the Shining Wizard in 8:26 and then taunted Hikaru by asking her how much she loves the wrestling business.

Next was kind of an AJW reunion with Kaoru Ito facing Tomoko Watanabe. Ito won with the diving foot stomp at 12:01. The main event had GAMI, Toshie Uematsu & Yuki Miyazaki vs Aja Kong, Dynamite Kansai & Manami Toyota. Reportedly it was a very good match and went to a thirty minute draw. After some discussion, it was decided to have a five minute overtime which Aja won over GAMI with the back fist in 1:06. THE WOMAN has been running shows monthly but it looks like they're skipping July and having shows for three consecutive days in August.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:O'Landa Draper & The Associates
Song:Make A Joyful Noise

O'Landa Draper was a choir director from Memphis. His 1998 album Reflections was poised to make him the next big star in gospel music when Draper died of kidney failure. Make A Joyful Noise is a good example of his music. It has a great arrangement for an energetic choir with jazz and latin overtones. Draper wrote, arranged and produced all his own material so his death was a great loss to the gospel music industry.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fuuka wins JD Star Princess tournament

When JD Star started the Princess tournament a couple of months ago, it was seen by your intrepid reporter as a cynical attempt by JD Star management to force Fuuka as ace down fans throats. You see, they tried to make her an ace by having her work with more experienced wrestlers. It failed because like all the Athtresses, Fuuka doesn't have what it takes to be an ace. So JD Star decided to have this convoluted Princess tournament against rookies in an attempt to hoodwink fans.

So JD Star held the finals of the Princess tournament on June 24 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. I'm not going to get into the convoluted points formula that narrowed this down to four wrestlers; Fuuka (JD Star), Ayumi Kurihara (M's Style), Natsuki*Head (Dream Catchers) & Bambi (K-Dojo). Fuuka defeated Ayumi Kurihara in the first semi-final match. Natsuki*Head defeated Bambi in the second semi-final match. Based on actual ring ability, Natsuki*Head should beat Fuuka. And in fact, Kurihara should beat her too. But I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that Fukka won the Princess tournament final.

So JD Star management got what they wanted. I don't know if it will do any good when something is as flawed as the Athtress concept. Is Fukka ready to be an ace? She was so bad when she first started in the joshi business that she has to be better. But fans fail to understand that she's so heavily protected in JD Star and JD Star is so determined to push Athtresses, there's no incentive for her to improve in the ring above a mediocre level. She will be the ace regardless. That's what the company wants though her position hasn't been earned. This has been the pattern of the Athtress concept since JD Star started it in 2000. It's not going to change.

Amazing Kong invades Takahashi press conference

Nanae Takahashi held a press conference June 23 at the Samurai TV studio to promote her tenth anniversary show on July 14 at Shinjuku FACE. Fellow Dream Catchers Hikaru, Saki Maemura & Natsuki*Head were there. Before the press conference could get started, Amazing Kong arrived and proceeded to blame Takahashi for the bankruptcy of All Japan Women. Kong got the reaction she was looking for when Takahashi attacked her. Of course this will set up the main event of Nanae Takahashi's tenth anniversary show. It will be Nanae Takahashi vs Amazing Kong. Takahashi said she plans to show everyone that she is better than Amazing Kong. Kong also said that she plans to bring a couple of friends to take care of the other Dream Catchers. One will face Hikaru and the other will face Saki Maemura. Natsuki*Head will face Ayumi Kurihara in the other announced match. Of course the obvious speculation is that Aja Kong will be one of Amazing Kong's friends. Here's a pic from the press conference. Takahashi doesn't look very happy.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Randy Crawford
Song:Street Life
Album:The Best of Randy Crawford

Street Life was the biggest hit of Randy Crawford's career but it was actually recorded by the veteran jazz group The Crusaders and she was guest vocalist. Crusaders keyboardist Joe Sample wrote the song. The song got Randy a contract with Warner Bros. but she was never able to duplicate the success of Street Life. She's an excellent singer though and this Best Of is worth a listen.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ben E. King
Song:Stand By Me

Ben E. King was a member of the Doo Wop group The Four Crowns when The Drifters manager George Treadwell fired the group and made The Four Crowns The Drifters. After several hits with The Drifters, King left to go solo over a money dispute with Treadwell. He had several huge hits in the early 60s including this great song he co-wrote with the legendary writing/producing team of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. Stand By Me has been so enduring that it became a top ten hit again in 1986 upon the release of Rob Reiner's film Stand By Me. The 2CD Anthology was released by Rhino in 1993 and includes all of King's hits including his Drifters songs.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jeff Gordon wins at Sonoma road course

NASCAR Nextel Cup enters foreign territory today at the road course at Sonoma, CA known as Infineon Raceway. But there are Nextel Cup regulars like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart & Robby Gordon who are as good on a road course as an oval. And the road course specialists like Boris Said, Scott Pruett & Ron Fellows are competitive on a road course and always make things interesting. Kurt Busch won the pole.

The red flag comes out after a lap 1 crash. Ken Schrader-#21 Little Debbie's Ford spun and is hit hard by Sterling Marlin-#14 Waste Management Chevy & Tom Hubert-#27 Ford. Casey Mears-#42 Texaco Havoline Dodge, Clint Bowyer-#07 Jack Daniels Chevy & Jamie McMurray-#26 Crown Royal Ford were also involved. Everyone was OK Marlin & Schrader were out of the race and those two can't afford any more bad finishes as they could drop out of the top 35 in points. Kurt Busch-#2 Miller Lite Dodge leads the first part of the race. After green flag pit stops on lap 35, Kevin Harvick-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy leads but Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge takes the lead on lap 38.

Jeff Gordon#24 Dupont Chevy takes the lead on lap 51. After green flag pit stops, we have a surprise leader. Terry Labonte-#96 DLP Chevy pitted during a caution on lap 62. He leads at lap 80. Crew chief Felippe Lopez says Labonte isn't stopping and will try to win the race on fuel mileage. Gordon takes the lead back on lap 88. Labonte stays out. Does he have enough fuel?

Kevin Harvick & Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy both have trouble. Harvick has a loose wheel on lap 84 and finishes 24th. Stewart's engine is dying on lap 92. He limps the car home for a 28th place finish. Another big crash brings out the red flag on lap 105. Dale Jarrett-#88 UPS Ford, Bobby Labonte-#43 Cheerios Dodge & JJ Yeley-#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy are all wrecked and towed away. When the green comes back out with three laps left, Newman passes Labonte for second and Gordon holds on for the win.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon, crew chief Steve LeTarte & car owner Rick Hendrick. Terry Labonte's third place was the first top ten finish for the new Hall Of Fame Racing team owned by Roger Staubach & Troy Aikman. And a big top ten finish for road race ace Boris Said in his first race in his new team owned by Said, crew chief Frank Stoddard and the No Fear clothing company. Said has a long standing relationship with No Fear. Jimmie Johnson finished 10th and still leads the points. The Nextel Cup boys are in Daytona next Saturday. Here's the top ten of the race.

1.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
2.12/Ryan Newman/Alltel/Dodge/Roger Penske
3.96/Terry Labonte/DLP/Chevy/Roger Staubach & Troy Aikman
4.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush
5.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
6.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
7.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
8.38/Elliott Sadler/Pedigree Dog Food/Ford/Robert Yates
9.60/Boris Said/SoBe Energy Drink/Ford/No Fear Racing
10.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

Paul Menard wins Milwaukee Busch Series race

The big story in the NASCAR Busch Series this year has been the Buschwackers, Nextel Cup regulars also running the full Busch Series schedule. Last week's race in Kentucky was the first race won by a non-Buschwacker. Bur race winner David Gilliland isn't a Busch Series regular either. So would a Busch Series regular finally win the AT&T 250 in Milwaukee? Most of the Buschwackers stayed in Sonoma for Nextel Cup practice so they weren't able to qualify their Busch cars. Craftsman Truck series driver Aric Almirola took the pole in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy. But Denny Hamlin arrived and had to go to the back of the field.

Clint Bowyer-#2 AC Delco Chevy, Denny Hamlin-#20 Rockwell Automation Chevy & Jason Leffler-#38 Great Clips Chevy all took turns leading the first half of the race. A bad pit stop would take the lead from Bowyer. Then Leffler spun trying to get on pit road with 45 laps left. Hamlin was on pit road at the time. Hamlin finished 2nd, Leffler was 4th and Bowyer was 18th.

Paul Menard-#11 Menards Chevy took the lead with Kevin Harvick-#21 Coast Guard Chevy chasing him. It looked like an easy win for Menard when Erin Crocker-#98 Cheerios Dodge spun on a restart. That tightened up the field. Harvick tried to bump Menard out of the way for the lead but this forced JJ Yeley-#18 Vigoro Chevy to spin out Harvick. He took out Clint Bowyer, Mark McFarland-#88 US Navy Chevy & Jon Wood-#47 Armor All Ford. McFarland hit hard and hurt his shoulder. Harvick finished 19th.

This set up a green/white/checker finish and Menard was able to hold off Hamlin for the win. This was Menard's first win in the Busch Series and the first win for a Busch Series regular this season. Harvick still has a big points lead.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Smokie Norful
Song:Still Say, Thank You
Album:I Need You Now

Smokie Norful was a youth pastor and choir director in Chicago when he was discovered by Anne Brunson of the Thompson Community Choir and did a guest vocal on The Tommies album Real. BTW, a great record. This got Smokie a contract with EMI Gospel and his singing, writing and musicianship has made him one of the most popular gospel artists today. He's a very strong performer and is worth checking out.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Johnny Benson wins Milwaukee Craftsman Truck race

It took two years in the Craftsman Truck series for Johnny Benson to win his first race at Michigan last week. So what does he do? he comes back the next week at the Toyota Tundra 200 at Milwaukee and wins again.

Ron Hornaday-#33 Chevy won the pole and dominated the first half of the race. Hornaday said they made some adjustments that didn't help and Johnny Benson-#23 Toyota took the lead on a restart with about 70 laps left. Benson held on for the win.

The points lead tightened up a bit. Points leader Todd Bodine had trouble and finished 20th. His teammate Ted Musgrave is in a slump right now. David Reutimann finished fifth and gained some ground on Bodine. Benson's second straight win moved him past Musgrave into third.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
Song:It Takes Two
Album:The Master 1961-1984

Marvin Gaye had several duet partners while at Motown and he had this big hit with Kim Weston in 1967. She did some solo recordings at Motown but this was her best known song. But Kim and producer husband Mickey Stevenson (he wrote & produced this song) left Motown for MGM by the time It Takes Two hit the charts. Kim Weston never could repeat the success elsewhere and left the music business. The Master is a 4CD box set covering Marving Gaye's career at Motown. He would go on to have big hits with other duet partners.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Big Joe Turner
Song:Corinne, Corrina
Album:Shake, Rattle & Roll

Big Joe Turner was a very versatile blues shouter from Kansas City. He was very popular in the 50s and he had a big hit with this updating of Corinne, Corinna on Atlantic in 1956. This CD is on the Tomato label but anyone interested in a complete Big Joe Turner comp should get the 3CD Big, Bad & Blue:The Big Joe Turner Anthology issued by Rhino in 1994.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Song:Take The Coltrane
Album:Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

Now you might think that Ellington & Coltrane might have some sort of generation gap but Ellington was always open to working with young musicians and in 1962 he sat in with the Coltrane quartet. The results are quite rewarding as both guys complement each other very well. Take The Coltrane is an Eliington composition written for the occasion. You can't go wrong with two of the all time greats so get your hands on this CD.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Aretha Franklin
Album:I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You

Of course I've talked about Aretha before and this is one of her best known songs. What a lot of people may not know is that Respect was written by another all time great of R & B in Otis Redding. And he did his own version. So you can't lose with this song.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mika Nishio appears on OZ/M's Style show

OZ Academy & M's Style held a joint show on June 18 at Shinjuku FACE. The show was called Nuclear Fusion and was a benefit to offset Mika Nishio's medical bills. The great news is that doctors did clear Nishio to come to the show. She is still in a wheelchair but is walking with a walker in hospital. She can stand very briefly but gets tired very quickly. The 500 fans in attendance gave Nishio a rousing welcome. The wrestlers came to the ring for pictures and all were very happy to see her. Nishio stood (the wheelchair was right behind her) and thanked the fans and the wrestlers for their kindness and support. Nishio's sister was at the show and brought her to and from the show. Getting out of hospital to see her friends is very important to Nishio's recovery. On behalf of all joshi fans, I want to wish Mika Nishio all the best in her recovery.

On another note, as many fans are aware, Sonoko Kato has been out of action for several years with serious knee problems. She has continued to tell fans that she will return to the ring. She is usually in attendance at all the OZ Academy shows but she was strangely absent from this one. There are whispers that she has decided to throw in the towel and retire from wrestling. I'll let you know if I see more on this.

You may recall that at the last M's Style show, GAMI talked smack about Amazing Kong. Today was Amazing Kong's revenge. GAMI continued her comedy antics by sticking some sort of tail on Amazing Kong's butt. It didn't help. Amazing Kong finished her off in twelve minutes with the spiral bomb. Natsuki* Head made her first appearance as a Dream Catcher teaming with Nanae Takahashi & Hikaru vs Manami Toyota, Aja Kong & Ayumi Kurihara. Natsuki*Head got the fall over Kurihara with a backdrop at 24:32. After the match, Takahashi attempted to start something with Toyota. We'll see if that goes anywhere.

Next we had reluctant tag partners Mayumi Ozaki & AKINO vs Dynamite Kansai & Michiko Ohmukai. Ozaki did her usual heel shtick by ignoring AKINO, refusing to tag in and then...ahem...accidently kicking her in the head. AKINO won anyway by pinning Ohmukai at 13:02. It seems a chain was involved.

The main event was an Oz Academy vs M's Style Captains Falls match with Mayumi Ozaki, Chikayo Nagashima, Dynamite Kansai, Carlos Amano & Police vs AKINO, Michiko Ohmukai, Bullfight Sora, Leon & Ayumi Kurihara. You probably know that a Captains Falls match ends when one of the team captains is pinned. The kicker here is neither team knew who the opposing captain was. It had a bit of a swerve ending with Sora pinning Amano with a heel drop at 11:41 as the OZ wrestlers ignored Sora but she fooled them. Afterwards, all the wrestlers lined up in the ring gave three cheers to Mika Nishio. Let's hope they raised a lot of money for her. The next M's Style show is July 16 at Tokyo Cinema Club. Here's the results of the show.

OZ ACADEMY/M'S STYLE - 6/18/06 - Shinjuku FACE
Chikayo Nagashima & Leon def. Carlos Amano & Bullfight Sora (Nagashima over Sora in 16:37)Amazing Kong def. GAMI in 12:00
Natsuki*Head, Nanae Takahashi & Hikaru def. Manami Toyota, Aja Kong & Ayumi Kurihara (Natsuki*Head over Kurihara in 24:32)
Mayumi Ozaki & AKINO def. Michiko Ohmukai & Dynamite Kansai (AKINO over Ohmukai in 13:02)
CAPTAINS FALLS MATCH:AKINO, Michiko Ohmukai, Leon, Bullfight Sora & Ayumi Kurihara def. Mayumi Ozaki, Chikayo Nagashima, Carlos Amano, Dynamite Kansai & Police (Sora over Amano in 11:41)

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Song:(Every Time I look Around) Back In Love Again
Album:Greatest Hits

Back in the 70s, the Philly Sound of groups like the O'Jays was so popular that even groups that weren't from Philly tried to emulate it. Such is the case with this big hit by L.T.D. featuring lead singer Jeffrey Osborne. Veteran Philadelphia International producer/arranger Bobby Martin was brought in to hit a home run with this top five hit from 1977. L.T.D. had a few other hits and this Greatest Hits comp is definitive. The group went in the tank when Osborne left and he had a significant solo career in the 80s. Back In Love Again was also the basis for gospel girl group Trinity 5:7's huge hit Put Your Hands in 1999. The song has been sampled a lot by hip hop acts.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fujii & Akano on July 30 Smackgirl show

With the Winner Take All main event between Yuka Tsuji & WINDY Tomomi on the card, Smackgirl's June 30 show at Korakuen Hall is already a very big show. Now it's even bigger with the addition of Megumi Fujii & Hitomi Akano.

Megumi Fujii is a world famous martial artist known as The Sambo Queen. This will be her first appearance in Smackgirl in almost two years and that was her only previous appearance. She just returned from a successful appearance on an MMA show in Los Angeles. She is highly respected so this is a big deal for Smackgirl. In keeping with the theme of the show, Fujii has decided to have a Winner Take All match with Smackgirl veteran Tama Chan. Tama Chan is in big trouble.

Fujii is bringing training partner and up and coming fighter Hitomi Akano with her. Akano lost a tough decision to Tara LaRosa on the June 3 MFC show in Atlantic City. So she's looking to bounce back. Her opponent is Emma Bush. Emma works for Charlie's Combat Club in Everett, WA and is probably better known under her maiden name Emma Nielsen. She appeared in Smackgirl last year and lost to Youko Takahashi. One other match has been added as well. Here's the card so far. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds unless otherwise noted.

SMACKGIRL - 6/30/06 - Korakuen Hall
MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT-Takayo Hashi vs Kinuka Sasaki
LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT-Seri vs Kyoko Takabayashi
50KG BOUT-Ayumi "Edge" Saito vs Takase
FLYWEIGHT BOUT-Naoko Ohmuro vs Shiho Yamata
58KG BOUT-Madoka Okada vs Yui Tatsubun
OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Youko Takahashi vs Michiko Takeda
65KG BOUT-Hitomi Akano vs Emma Bush
WINNER TAKE ALL 61KG BOUT-Megumi Fujii vs Tama Chan
WINNER TAKE ALL 52KG BOUT-3 5 min. rounds-Yuka Tsuji vs WINDY Tomomi

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ella Fitzgerald
Song:Take The A Train
Album:Pure Ella

Ella Fitzgerald is probably the greatest singer in the history of jazz. She is the prototype for singer as musician. I like her best when she has the time to let loose and improvise. That is the case with her version of Billy Strayhorn's Take The A Train backed by Duke Ellington's band. They really work well together. It was originally on the 1957 recording Ella Sings The Duke Ellington Songbook. Pure Ella has all her biggest hits and is a very good introduction to her music.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kasey Kahne wins rain shortened Michigan Nextel Cup race

The weather was the big story at the 3M Performance 400 Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. The race is official at the halfway point. So when everyone knows bad weather is coming, strategy comes into play that you wouldn't normally see. Kasey Kahne won the pole but he smacked the wall during Saturday's practice. The crew repaired the car. Kasey had a special paint scheme promoting the Adam Sandler film Click and Sandler was the grand marshall of the race.

The race was delayed for an hour by light rain. Kasey Kahne-#9 Click Dodge & Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy swap the lead. The caution comes out on lap 10 for rain but it stops and the race restarts on lap 18. Tony Stwart-#20 Home Depot Chevy crashes into the wall after Jeff Green-#66 Best Buy Chevy taps him on lap 22. Clint Bowyer-#07 Jack Daniels Chevy is clipped by Stewart. Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy stays out to take the lead. Another caution comes out on lap 31 when Jamie McMurray-#26 Irwin Industrial Tools Ford spins JJ Yeley-#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy into the wall. Ken Schrader-#21 Motorcraft Ford is taken out of the race and Joe Nemechek-#01 US Army Chevy is involved too. Kyle Busch pits and Kahne regains the lead when green comes out on lap 36.

Jeff Gordon passes Kahne for the lead but Kahne has to pit on lap 47 when debris on his grille causes overheating. He's a lap down but gets it back when rain brings out the caution on lap 51. When the green comes out on lap 59, Jeff Gordon battles for the lead with Dale Earnhardt Jr.-#8 Budweiser Chevy. A Matt Kenseth-#17 Carhartt Ford spin brings out a caution on lap 67. Greg Biffle-#16 Charter Communications Ford gets the lead after pit stops but is passed by Earnhardt on lap 79. A Tony Raines-#96 DLP Chevy flat tire brings out a caution on lap 81. All the leaders pit but Brian Vickers-#25 GMAC Chevy stays out to take the lead at lap 85. He's a sitting duck and Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford takes the lead on lap 89.

Edwards leads at the halfway point. But the rain is coming. A Kyle Petty-#45 Wells Fargo Dodge flat tire brings out a caution at lap 111. Everyone pits but Reed Sorenson-#41 Target Dodge takes two tires to get the lead. This is great strategy with rain coming. Kahne beat Edwards off pit road for second. This turned out to be the winning move. Kahne passes Sorenson for the lead on lap 117. The rain finally comes to stay at lap 129 and the race is called and Kasey Kahne is the winner.

Congratulations to Kasey Kahne, crew chief Kenny Francis & car owner Ray Evernham for Kahne's fourth win of the year. A great call by crew chief Jimmy Elledge got rookie Reed Sorenson his best career finish in fifth. It was a great race while it lasted but nobody likes that type of finish. At least they got the race in. Jimme Johnson still leads the points. The Nextel Cup boys are on the road course in Sonoma, CA next week. The Busch & Truck teams are in Milwaukee. More frequent flyer miles. Here's the top 10 of the race.

1.9/Kasey Kahne/Click/Dodge/Ray Evernham
2.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
3.9/Dale Earnhardt Jr./Budweiser/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.
4.16/Greg Biffle/Charter Communications/Ford/Jack Roush
5.41/Reed Sorenson/Target/Dodge/Chip Ganassi
6.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
7.42/Casey Mears/Texaco Havoline/Dodge/Chip Ganassi
8.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
9.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
10.29/Kevin Harvick/Reese's/Chevy/Richard Childress

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Cab Calloway
Song:Minnie The Moocher
Album:Are You Hep To The Jive?

There's not much question that Cab Calloway's showmanship and his way with a novelty song allowed him to transcend the limitations of black music back in the 30s. But what people forget is he always had a killer band. Minnie The Moocher was his biggest hit in 1931 and had drug references that probably would have been censored a few years later. Are You Hep To The Jive? is a Columbia/Legacy comp that includes all his big hits on the Okeh label. You should also check out any Betty Boop cartoons that Cab appeared in.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Johnny Benson wins Michigan Craftsman Truck race

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI on Saturday. Mike Skinner won the pole but he just hasn't been able to win a race this year. Marcos Ambrose from Tasmania was also in the front row. He's a stock car champ in Australia who seems to know how to qualify but hasn't figured out how to race yet.

Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota led the early part of the race but a green flag pit stop caused by a flat tire and subsequent caution put Skinner a lap down. He recovered to finish 11th but he continues to have horrible luck.

Johnny Benson-#23 Exide Batteries Toyota took the lead with Mark Martin-#6 Scott's Miracle Gro Ford, Rick Crawford-#14 Circle Bar Truck Stop Ford & Bobby Labonte-#4 Dodge pressuring him. Benson told crew chief Rick Ren that he was concerned that Martin was holding back until the end of the race. Several cautions near the end of the race helped Benson as Martin was better on long runs. Martin Truex Jr-#51 Bowen Homes Chevy blew a tire, hit the wall and took out Kerry Earnhardt-#13 Chevy. This caution set up a green/white/checker finish. Benson held off Martin for the win.

Johnny Benson is from nearby Grand Rapids, MI so this was a very popular win. His whole fan club was in the crowd. Benson has now won a race at all three NASCAR elite series. The win moved Benson up to fourth in the points. Todd Bodine still leads.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Oleta Adams
Song:Get Here
Album:The Very Best Of Oleta Adams

The story goes that Oleta Adams was singing in a Kansas City piano bar when Roland Orzobal of the then popular British group Tears For Fears walked in, discovered her and immediately used her on their 1985 hit Woman In Chains. Eventually Oleta would have a huge hit with her version of the Brenda Russell song Get Here. Her career petered out in the mid 90s so she turned to gospel with Come Walk With Me in 1997 and last recorded in 2001. This comp is a collection of her Fontana recordings. Oleta Adams is a tremendous vocalist who accompanies herself on piano and writes a lot of her own material. She's the kind of church based singer who brings a lot of emotion to her recordings but that's not necessarily what the music business is looking for these days.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mariko Yoshida at the CAC

Mariko Yoshida was at this week's Cauliflower Alley Club convention in Las Vegas. She said on her blog that she got to meet Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer, Nick Bockwinkle and many others. Training demonstrations and a wrestling show is always a part of the CAC and Yoshida participated in that as well. At their induction ceremony, the CAC always awards a Future Legend award. Melissa Anderson won that award a couple of years ago. Much to her surprise, Yoshida received the 2006 Future Legend award. Yoshida's response was "Unbelievable". Heartland Wrestling Association owner Les Thatcher was at the CAC convention as usual and here is what Les had to say about Mariko Yoshida.

Also very impressive was Japanese lady’s wrestling legend Mariko Yoshida who made the trip to train and work the show. What is amazing is that this lady runs her own promotion, has eighteen years experience in the squared circle and still felt she could learn. She doesn’t speak our language very well, but well enough to keep asking me after each in ring drill we did, “Please pick apart and tell me how to do better.” I think many of the indie wrestlers could use a little of her drive to improve.
We had five young ladies in an elimination match, and it came down to Yoshida and Cheerleader Melissa Anderson and they gave us about twelve minutes of solid wrestling action before the finish which saw the lady from Japan get her hand raised.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Yolanda Adams
Song:Fragile Heart
Album:Mountain High, Valley Low

Yolanda Adams is a gospel singer from Houston who crossed over significantly into mainstream R & B with 1999's Mountain High, Valley Low. She had been recording since 1988 and though criticized by the church for looking too glamourous, she had a big fanbase in the Christian market. So what happened? Elektra Records president Sylvia Rhone signed Yolanda and basically told her to make a great gospel record and Sylvia would take it mainstream. It worked. She uses plenty of great producers on the record including the great song Fragile Heart which Yolanda wrote & produced with Buster & Shavoni. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis produced the big hit Open Your Heart and Mary Mary & Kelly Price also appear on the record. So Yolanda Adams stepped up and gospel music became more mainstream as a result.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Raven Hiroka wins CMLL Womens Title

According to Rumi Kazama's blog, former LLPW wrestler Raven Hiroka won the CMLL Womens Title in Mexico over the weekend.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Joann Rosario
Song:You Mean That Much To Me
Album:More More More

Joann Rosario is a very expressive gospel singer from Chicago. She is a black/latina hybrid and is fluent in Spanish. This makes her very marketable to the Latin market. Joann first surfaced as a member of Fred Hammond & Radical For Christ. She was the first artist signed when Hammond started his F. Hammond Music label in 2002. Of course he produced her record too. Joann co-wrote this song with Hammond and his frequent writing partner Noel Hall. Joann has a great voice and you know it's going to have a great groove with Hammond producing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Yuka Tsuji Speaks

Smackgirl has added several matches to their June 30 Korakuen Hall show. Ayumi "Edge" Saito and the masked fighter 15 are among the additions. The last time we saw 15 she was unconcious from a Hisae Watanabe punch. Yuka Tsuji spoke to Sportsnavi about her big "winner take all" match against WINDY Tomomi.

Yuka Tsuji says she can't wait to prove that she is the strongest woman on June 30. WINDY Tomomi demanded this match several times as she lost to Tsuji in 2002 and wants revenge. Tsuji says she doesn't need to prove anything but Tomomi has earned this match with her record. Tsuji is angry that Tomomi has accused her of ducking her. Tsuji said Tomomi didn't earn a shot at the Lightweight Title in the number one contender tournament last year and now Tsuji wants to shut her up. Tsuji says the "winner take all" stipulation was her idea and she told Tomomi to put her money where her mouth is.

Tsuji says she has some new techniques planned for Tomomi along with her intention to give out megaphones to fans for some megaphone beating at the show. This is what fans do at baseball games in Japan and Tsuji is a big Hanshin Tigers fan. However, she won't say what her new move is. Tsuji says Tomomi has improved since 2002 but so has she. Tsuji is so confident of victory that she said she will use the prize money to buy some new training goods that she has already ordered. This should be a hell of a fight. Here's the card so far. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds unless otherwise noted.

SMACKGIRL - 6/30/06 - Korakuen Hall
LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT-Seri vs Kyoko Takabayashi
50KG BOUT-Ayumi "Edge" Saito vs Takase
FLYWEIGHT BOUT-Naoko Ohmuro vs Shiho Yamata
58KG BOUT-Madoka Okada vs Yui Tatsubun
OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Youko Takahashi vs Michiko Takeda
WINNER TAKE ALL 52KG BOUT-3 5 min. rounds-Yuka Tsuji vs WINDY Tomomi

Aja & Chigusa join RING

Last October, a new wrestling company called RING put on their first show. The company claims to be a mix of pro wrestling, music, dance, rhythmic gymnastics & comedy. Michiko Ohmukai & AKINO were the only joshi wrestlers on that show. The rest of the card had guys from K-Dojo & DDT like YOSHIYA, Makato Oishi and others. If you look at clips from the show, the concept seems somewhat similar to the MTV Wrestling Society X with it's combination of all these things. It looks like RING is closely associated with a dance company called Stand.

RING's next show will be on June 27 at Roppongi University and there will be a much more significant joshi prescence on the show. Both Aja Kong & Chigusa Nagayo have joined the company as producers. Aja will also wrestle on the show along with Michiko Ohmukai, AKINO, Ayako Hamada & Apple Miyuki along with some of the same guys from the first show. From what I could tell, it looks like the dancers get involved in the ring action too. The best thing to do is check out their website yourself. They have several clips to watch.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Dee Dee Bridgewater
Song:Bad For Me
Albun:Journey Into Paradise:The Larry Leven Story

So who is Larry Levan. Apparently he was a very important DJ and remixer in the 70s who is now deceased. This comp issued by Rhino is a tribute to him. Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater doesn't really fit in with Chaka Khan and some of the others on the CD but Levan did remix this for Dee Dee in 1979. She's an underrated singer and is another good example of a jazz artist who is better known in Europe than here. Bad For Me is really good. Don't know about the rest of the CD.

I'm doing this a little late because Windows Update took over my computer this morning.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Meters
Song:It Ain't No Use

If you're going to talk about major influences on today's hip hop, the legendary Neville Brothers from New Orleans would be a good place to start. Art & Charles Neville formed The Meters with legendary producer Allen Toussaint. After playing on tons of sessions for New Orleans R & B groups, they made some of their own records. They had their one mainstream hit with Hey Pocky-A-Way in 1974 from Rejuvenation. It's probably their best album. It was on Reprise so being on a major label helped. The Meters never actually broke up. Toussaint & partner Marshall Sehorn owned The Meters name so Art & Charles Neville just changed the group name to The Neville Bros. They're still at it today. If you like funk, The Meters are for you.

Dan Wheldon going to NASCAR?

Mike Massaro of ESPN News reports that 2005 IRL champ Dan Wheldon may be heading to drive the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi in NASCAR Nextel Cup. When Wheldon left Andretti Green to drive for Ganassi in IRL, there were whispers that Wheldon really wants to go to NASCAR. The opening is now available. Casey Mears announced last week that he will leave Ganassi and rumour is he is going to drive the #25 for Rick Hendrick. The current #25 driver Brian Vickers annnounced his departure from Hendrick and is rumoured going to Red Bull Racing to drive a Toyota. This would be a big blow to open wheel fans as Wheldon is a great driver. NASCAR Silly Season is officially open.

Monday, June 12, 2006

OZ/M's Style show to benefit Mika Nishio

Mayumi Ozaki, AKINO, Dynamite Kansai, Chikayo Nagashima, Leon, Bullfight Sora & Ayumi Kurihara visited the Nikkan Sports office to promote the June 18 OZ Academy/M's Style show at Shinjuku FACE. The show is called Nuclear Fusion and is a benefit to offset Mika Nishio's medical bills. Nishio is still in hospital and has been walking with a walker recently. They are attempting to get doctor's permission to allow Nishio to come to the show. Among other things, there will be a OZ vs M's Style five on five captain's match. Participants will be announced by captains Ozaki & AKINO on the day of the show.

Masako Yoshida wins G-Shooto Strawweight Tournament

G-Shooto held their June 11 show at Kitazawa Town Hall. The main event was the Strawweight Tournament final between Masako Yoshida and Yasuko Tamada. Tamada's strategy was to attack Yoshida in the standing position but Yoshida was able to gain an advantage when she got Tamada on the mat. It was a very close match and Yoshida won by a majority decision. 20-19, 20-20, 20-19. Yoshida said afterwards that she wants to graduate from Class C to Class B and also wants to go after some title belts. Here's the results of the show. All matches were scheduled for two five minute rounds.

G-SHOOTO - 6/11/06 - Kitazawa Town Hall
CLASS C+ STRAWWEIGHT BOUT-Wakako Sunayama def. Madoka Ebihara by TKO at 57 sec. of round two
CLASS C+ FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT-Mamiko def. Miyuki Ariga by submission at 4:21 of round one
CLASS C+ 48KG BOUT-Eri Kaneya def. Yuka Okumura by submission at 1:29 of round one
CLASS C+ BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT-Yuuko def. Seri by majority decision 20-18, 20-19, 19-19
CLASS C+ STRAWWEIGHT BOUT-Misako Takimoto def. Maho Muranami by submission at 2:04 of round one
CLASS C+ STRAWWEIGHT TOURNAMENT FINAL-Masako Yoshida def. Yasuko Tamada by majority decision 20-19, 20-20, 20-19

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Marcels
Song:Blue Moon
Album:The Doo Wop Box

This Doo Wop group from Pittsburgh is best known for this 1961 cover of the Rodgers & Hart song Blue Moon. It was a big hit and it's great but that's about it for The Marcels. They did appear in the film Twisting Around The Clock. A lot of Doo Wop groups were nothing more than footnotes in pop music history. The Doo Wop Box is a 4CD box set from Rhino that is probably the best thing to get if you're interested in groups like The Marcels.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Denny Hamlin wins Pocono Nextel Cup race

Pocono is a very unusual race track with its triangular shape, it's kind of an oval with the characteristics of a road course. Sunday's Pocono 500 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup is also the first time rookies see Pocono as the Busch Series doesn't run there. So it was very surprising when rookie Denny Hamlin won the pole. It seems he plays a lot of video games and has practiced Pocono there. Also, his crew chief Mike Ford has had a lot of success at Pocono winning with Bill Elliott in 2003.

Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Ground Chevy led the first 50 laps when he blew a left rear tire and spun out. He didn't hit anything but the tire caused some damage. His pit crew had to repair the battery compartment so the battery would stay in place. Hamlin was still on the lead lap but things didn't look good. Kurt Busch-#2 Miller Lite Dodge took the lead. He would lead several times during the race but wasn't fast enough to keep the lead. In this case Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy would quickly pass Busch for the lead.

A long green flag run would lead to green flag pit stops. Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford won this race last year and was leading when his car came off the jack during the pit stop. This put Edwards a lap down and he finished 25th. Greg Biffle-#16 Subway Ford had trouble with his brakes early in the race. His crew fixed it and Biffle took the lead on lap 121.

After another round of green flag pit stops, Kevin Lepage-#49 Pocono Manor Resort Dodge stopped on the track on lap 149 to bring out the caution. Some guys stayed out and Biffle continued to lead. Denny Hamlin took the lead on lap 164. After more green flag pit stops, Hamlin had a significant lead. But a brake failure caused Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy to hit the wall hard. NASCAR brought out the red flag so they could repair the SAFR barrier and clean up the track. Gordon was OK. This tightened up the field but Denny Hamlin held on for the win.

Congratulations to Denny Hamlin, crew chief Mike Ford & car owner Joe Gibbs on winning Denny's first Nextel Cup race. A couple of notable top ten finishes. After being relieved by Ricky Rudd at Dover last week because of a broken scapula, Tony Stewart was fitted for a new seat and ran the entire race and finished third. Brian Vickers announced this week that he is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season. He came in here and had a top ten. Rumour is Vickers will drive a Toyota for Red Bull Racing. Scott Riggs had a mishap on lap one that put Casey Mears into the wall and out of the race. Riggs recovered for a top ten finish. Jimmie Johnson still leads the points. Next week the Nextel Cup boys are in Michigan and the Busch Series is in Kentucky. Here's the top ten of today's race.

1.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx Ground/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
2.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
3.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
4.25/Brian Vickers/GMAC/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
5.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush
6.16/Greg Biffle/Subway/Ford/Jack Roush
7.9/Kasey Kahne/UAW-Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham
8.10/Scott Riggs/Valvoline/Dodge/Ray Evernham
9.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
10.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Donny Hathaway
Song:A Song For You
Album:These Songs For You, LIVE!

Donny Hathaway is probably best known for his hit duets with Roberta Flack and his tragic death but many R & B fans, including me, and musicians consider him a genius and one of the greatest talents ever. Donny could do it all. A tremendous vocalist, he takes Leon Russell's A Song For You, pours his own emotion into it and makes it his own. And he could do that with any song. Also he was a great writer, producer and pianist. This 2CD set was released by Rhino in 2004. It's a combination of live recordings from 1971 & 1973 and is a must for R & B fans. Unfortunately, Donny's life was all too short. Despite his success and accolades from his peers, Donny suffered from depression. Donny Hathaway committed suicide on January 13, 1979 in New York at age 33 when he jumped out of an eighth floor window to his death. A great loss of a true musical genius.

Carl Edwards wins Nashville Busch Sreies race

With the Nextel Cup boys in Pocono, PA & the Busch Series boys in Nashville, this week begins three weeks of frequent flier miles for guys who want to reun both. Last year's rainout of the Nashville race cost Carl Edwards a shot at the Busch Series championship but he did win at Pocono. No such problems this year and all seven Buschwackers were in Nashville. Todd Kluever won the pole.

Todd Kluever-#06 3M Ford led the first part of the race but eventually Clint Bowyer-#2 AC Delco Chevy & Carl Edwards-#60 Ameriquest Ford would dominate the race. Bowyer would get the lead in the pits but Edwards was stronger on the track and would win easily. Kevin Harvick still leads the points race.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

DEEP announces Womens Lightweight Title match for August 4 show

DEEP has announced several bouts for their August 4 show at Korakuen Hall. The semi main event is for the vacant DEEP Womens Lightweight Title between Hisae Watanabe and Satoko Shinashi. Like the Yuka Tsuji/WINDY Tomomi match recently announced, this has the potential to be a very big match in the womens MMA business in Japan. The match is a real contrast in styles. Shinashi is a veteran grappling expert who works as a trainer in DEEP's dojo. Like her pal Tomomi, Watanabe is a muay thai kickboxer and an expert striker. These two faced each other in 2002 in the finals of the Smackgirl Lightweight Japan Cup. Shinashi used her grappling skills to win. But Watanabe has worked on her ground work with Yuka Tsuji and if you add that to her already formidable striking skills, that makes her very tough to deal with. Watanabe has been 7-1 since that loss, losing only to Yuka Tsuji. This match was originally scheduled for February 5 but postponed due to an injury to Shinashi. So it's very unusual for a womens match to be the biggest match on a mens MMA show but this match should be very interesting and is already getting a lot of media attention in Japan.

Tara La Rosa wins at MFC show in Atlantic City

There were two womens matches on the June 3 MFC show in Atlantic City. Tara LaRosa got a big win over Hitomi Akano by unanimous decision and Amanda Buckner won over Shana Basler by TKO at 3:31 of round three. The bouts were scheduled for two five minute rounds with a one round extension.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane
Song:Feeling Good (Alternate Take)
Album:The Classic Quartet:The Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings

When we're talking about the music of John Coltrane, he recorded so much music in a short period of time that it is very difficult to cover all of it properly. This 8CD box set deals with all the studio recordings of what Impulse! calls the Classic John Coltrane Quartet. It only covers 1961-1965 so there's much more than this but it is essential to jazz fans. These recordings with John Coltrane on sax, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass & Elvin Jones on drums are presented in chronological order so you can follow the growth of Tyner on these recordings. Once again, it's a big box set in a metal box but a must for any Coltrane fan.

Todd Bodine wins Texas Craftsman Truck race

Mike Skinner is a former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champ who returned to the series to drive for Toyota. This season he's had a very fast truck but something always seems to happen to kill his finishes. Skinner won the pole of Friday night's Sams Town 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Will his luck change?

Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota dominated the race. He led the first part of the race. Truck series veteran Rick Crawford-#14 Circle Bar Truck Stop Ford led the middle part of the race. But Skinner took over and he had a big enough lead that it looked like he had the race won.

But when a Jack Sprague-#60 Con-Way Freight Toyota spin brought out a caution with six laps left, that tightened up the field and set up a green/white/checker finish. Skinner was unable to hold off Todd Bodine-#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota. Bodine passed Skinner on the final lap and won the race. Also, Bodine still leads the points race.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Average White Band
Song:Work To Do

When the Average White Band had their first hit in 1972, music fans were shocked to discover that not only were AWB not black, they were from Scotland. The Brits do have a long tradition of respect for black music. They had some big hits including this cover of the Isley Bros. song Work To Do. Singer/bassist Alan Gorrie, guitarist Hamish Stuart & pianist Roger Ball wrote most AWB songs. Drummer Robbie McIntosh died of a heroin overdose at a LA party in 1974 but AWB continued to be successful until they petered out in the late 70s and disbanded in 1982. Rhino has reissued most of their recordings and this AWB album is worth getting.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Four Tops
Song:Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got)
Album:Keepers Of The Castle:Their Best 1972-1978

Of course The Four Tops and lead singer Levi Stubbs are closely identified with the Motown Sound. But a lot of people don't know that they actually left Motown for ABC-Dunhill Records in the early 70s. Ain't No Woman was a big hit in 1972 but it's not a Motown song. It was produced by ABC Records house producer Steve Barri and writen by Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter. Keeper Of The Castle is the one collection devoted to their 70s music. The later stuff isn't very good. Motown also issued a 2CD 50th Anniversary Anthology in 2004 that includes their Dunhill recordings. The song turns up on a lot of various artists comps too. This might be one of those songs you buy individually for your iPod.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

DVD Review:Mayumi Ozaki-Going Up

At the end of 2004, Mayumi Ozaki announced that she was ramping up her efforts as a promoter in partnership with Masatoshi Yamamoto, a guy she had worked with in JWP. He has a money mark. This Going Up show on Feb. 8, 2005 at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse was their first effort together. That's Yamamoto doing colour commentary. The partnership didn't really work out. Ozaki continues to produce her OZ Academy shows more frequently than previously but she's probably a little disappointed her big plans didn't work out. Yamamoto has started EXCITING BOX with Megumi Kudo as one of his partners. But they did produce this one very good show together. All matches are in their entirety and the production quality is top notch. As usual, Ozaki seems to have a very good feeling for what works on a wrestling show.

The opener is Mariko Yoshida & Manami Toyota vs Dynamite Kansai & AKINO. In a nice touch, AKINO wears lime green to match Kansai. It's a pretty good match. AKINO brings a lot of energy like she always does and all the wrestlers get to do the things that they do well.Kansai wins over Toyota with a splash mountain. Next is GAMI vs Aja Kong. Obviously it's a comedy match with GAMI trying to avoid Aja at all costs. She pays the price when Aja gets her hands on her. GAMI uses a Greco Roman eye poke to put Aja down for two. That just makes Aja mad and her back fist gives Aja the win.

Next is a match billed as "Carrying Concealed Weapons". It's Dump Matsumoto & Shark Tsuchiya vs Mayumi Ozaki & Takako Inoue. Dump is accompanied to the ring by her stooge Sasori and this masked guy called Z-Father. Of course Ozaki brings Police with her. Both teams bring various weapons. Takako is busted open thirty seconds into the match courtesy of Dump's fork. It's just like the Atrocious Alliance. All you need is Shiro Abe to ref and look the other way. Dump, Shark & company beat up Takako, Ozaki & Police for the first few minutes with chains, chairs, Shark's scythe, a little bit of everything. Takako finally turns things around by using her stun gun and Takako & Ozaki get their revenge, on Shark anyway. Shark takes all the punishment. For one thing, Dump can't move. That's why Sasori is with her. For another thing, she probably outweighs Takako & Ozaki combined. How would they move her? The ending is hilarious. After all this garbage wrestling, Takako pins Shark with a monkey flip turned into a rollup. That was too funny.

Next is a JD tribute match with Jaguar Yokota, Devil Masami & Lioness Asuka vs Fang Suzuki, Sumie Sakai & Megumi Yabushita. Jaguar is in tremendous shape for her age. It takes a lot of hard work to look that good. It was pretty much a love fest with the old timers winning. The main event has Mayumi Ozaki vs AKINO. As usual, Police helps Ozaki get the upper hand. Kansai tries to help AKINO but isn't as successful. Both wrestlers work very hard and Ozaki wins the match with a highly technical chair shot to the head. So it was a pretty enjoyable show and as I said before, there's none of the usual editing of matches. The DVD is about two hours long.

Natsuki*Head leaves Gktn promotion

Natsuki*Head made her farewell appearance with the Gktn promotion on the June 4 Shin-kiba 1st Ring. First a word about the promotion's name. It doesn't actually translate into English so there is no correct spelling. So rather than confuse people I will call it Gktn because that's what the website url is. Gktn was started by Emi Motokawa AKA Sakura Emi as an offshoot of her dojo where she trains young girls in the martial arts. With the exception of Natsuki*Head who was trained at AJW, all the girls are very green and because they only work with each other, it's not likely that they are going to improve. I don't know if Emi has ever brought in a veteran to work with the girls. She's a veteran but her trainees aren't very good.

The other thing is Emi's insistence in using preteen girls on her shows. This is also an offshoot of the dojo. She thinks it's fun. It's not right and there should be some sort of age limit on teenage girls appearing on pro wrestling shows. It's one thing if it's being done as a gag but she's not doing that. Rika Takahashi was on the main event of this show and she made her debut last year at age 11. Another one named Sasai Chang debuted at age 12 on this show. It gets some notice from the Japanese media but it's a dirty old man kind of notice. Many joshi fans feel uneasy about this.

The opening match was an Iron Man Heavyweight Title defense. I guess I should explain this title. It was created by the DDT fed and many fans are familiar with their goofy comedy antics. Remember how many times the WWE Hardcore Title used to change hands. That's what this is like but it's even more of a gag. The champ is Hinata. The challenger is 12 year old sixth grade student Sasai Chang making her debut. Hinata won the match in 4:27. One observer suggested that Sasai should forget wrestling and go back to her trampoline. It's very embarassing when a promoter does this nonsense. Then Mai Ichii defeated Haruhi. Haruhi was debuting this housemaid gimmick she's been promoting. Another gimmick aimed at dirty old men.

Natsuki*Head made her final Gktn appearance in two matches. In the first one she lost to Zero via moonsault press in 11:54. Then she challenged Hinata for the Iron Man Heavyweight Title. Natsuki*Head won the title to become the 236th champ. No, that's not a misprint. She then thanked the fans and Sakura Emi for their support and hoped that many more Gktn trainees would follow her to the rest of the joshi world. Natsuki*Head is going to the Flash 7 office so Nanae Takahashi was there and they shook hands in the ring, the bell rang three times and Natsuki*head has left. It's a good move for her.

The main event was dubbed the Heisei Confrontation. Why? Because both wrestlers are junior high school students in Heisei. Rika Takahashi defeated Aoi Kizuki in 9:16. This is a main event? Afterwards all the wrestlers sang the company fight song to say goodbye to Natsuki*Head and celebrate her graduation. A tearful farewell of course. Natsuki*Head said backstage that it's time to go and Flash 7 is all AJW girls so it's the place for her to go. In her first match, she will team with Hikaru & Nanae Takahashi against Aja Kong, Manami Toyota & Ayumi Kurihara at the June 18 M's Style/OZAcademy show at Shinjuku FACE. Here's the results of the show.

GKTN - 6/4/06 - Shin-kiba 1st Ring
IRON MAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:Hinata defended the title over Sasai Chang in 4:27
Mai Ichii def Haruhi in 12:29
Zero def. Natsuki*Head in 11:54
IRON MAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE/NATSUKI*HEAD GRADUATION:Natsuki*Head won the title over Hinata in 13:30
Sakura Emi & Hinata def. Miki Ishii & Aika (Hinaka over Aita in14:08)
Rika Takahashi def. Aoi Kizuki in 9:16

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Quincy Jones f/James Ingram
Song:One Hundred Ways
Album:Ultimate Collection

Quincy Jones has had such a varied career in the entertainment business it would be impossible to do him justice. In the 1970s, Jones decided to produce a series of R & B recordings. He's usually at his best when attempting to establish unknown singers. Such is the case with the great song One Hundred Ways featuring James Ingram. Ingram would go on to have a good solo career on Jones' Qwest label. The Ultimate Collection comp on Hip-O combines Jones' A & M & Qwest recordings is a pretty good collection of that part of his career.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Beth Phoenix out for two months

If you watched RAW last night, you probably already know that Beth Phoenix suffered a broken mandible in her match with Victoria. It seems that when Victoria rolled her up for a pin, Phoenix banged her jaw with her own knee. There's a freak accident for you. I thought the match itself was OK until the mish mash ending. Beth had successful surgery today and is scheduled to be out for two months. Of course it's very bad timing for Beth as she was scheduled to wrestle Mickie James for the belt on the Vengeance PPV. I don't know what the WWE is going to do about this but I would bring Jillian Hall over from Smackdown. They could plug her right into this storyline and we know Jillian can work.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Herbie Hancock/Michael Brecker/Roy Hargrove
Song:D Trane
Album:Directions In Music:Live At Massey Hall

To celebrate the 75th birthdays of Miles Davis & John Coltrane in 2001, jazz keyboard legend Herbie Hancock put together a jazz superstar tour as a tribute somewhat similar to his VSOP group of the 80s & Tribute To Miles Davis group in the 90s. Mike Brecker has always sounded a lot like Coltrane on tenor sax and Hargrove sounds great on trumpet but imagine if Hancock had gotten Wallace Roney on trumpet like the Tribute To Miles Davis group. Roney really sounds like Davis. Geez, that would have been eerie. Round it out with John Patitucci on bass & Brian Blade on drums and this is a killer band by anyone's standards. This CD was recorded live at Massey Hall right here in Toronto and D Trane is a great performance of a Mike Brecker original. Herbie didn't mess around and did this right. Mike Brecker is a tremendous musician.

Monday, June 05, 2006

People In Motion show a one stop shop for the disabled

The 17th annual People In Motion consumer trade show for the disabled was held on June 2 & 3 at the Queen Elizabeth Building at the CNE in Toronto. People In Motion is a place where the disabled and their families can look at products and services for the disabled all in one place. All the wheelchair vendors and van outfitters were there. If you had to go shopping for them individually, you'd have to go all over the place. And the show is free. In fact, one of my friends and fellow coop members is in the market for a van. We travelled to the show together on Wheeltrans. She met her parents at the show and they chose a van from a company in Waterloo. She could never have been able to do that without the one stop shopping at People In Motion.

I spoke to show owner Ian Meelor and he said there were 115 exhibitors this year and the attendance for the two days is usually at 5,000. One thing is for sure. You'll never see as many wheelchairs in one place. Ian is very proud of the show and says he gets great feedback from exhibitors and attendees. He feels the show is greatly appreciated by the disabled community and will continue as long as possible. One misconception is that People In Motion is only worthwhile if one is shopping for a wheelchair or a van. But there are always new products and services available and it is very important to keep up to date on these things. I'm going every year just to get my annual supply of free pens. But seriously, I did find some new products and updates to government services and other things. Here are a few examples.



Magic Wheels is the first ever two gear wheelchair drive designed for manual wheelchairs. They are designed to replace the existing wheels. Many manual wheelchair users have difficulty climbing grades and also get severe shoulder pain too. Switching into the 2:1 drive allows the user to climb that same grade with very little effort. The gear mechanism is inside the wheel and the switch is on the wheel hub. The wheel is made out of carbon fibre & aluminum so it's durable and lightweight. Because Magic Wheels is a new product, it is cost prohibitive at $5,000 but Magic Wheels and their Canadian rep are applying for government funding approval. But the main goal is to get wheelchair manufacturers to use Magic Wheels as part of the manufacturing process. In time the cost could be absorbed. The product is a major innovation. Magic Wheels is based in Seattle and their website is The Canadian agent for Magic Wheels is Theracare Marketing Network Inc. Their local rep in Toronto is Jeff Fishbein at 905-764-3033 or their toll free number is 1-800-440-0615. the website is


We've all used arm pulleys either in the gym or rehab hospital. Wouldn't you like to do that at home? Smartgym Portable Fitness & Rehab Studio will allow you to do that at a very reasonable cost. Smartgym will attach to any door by two nylon cinching straps that go over the top and underneath the door and they meet behind the door. You pull downward on the straps, attach them with velcro and they're attached to the door securely. And you can release the Smartgym easily, fold it up and and put it in the carrying case that comes with it. And the best part is Smartgym costs only $199. It's a small price to pay for a professional quality workout. I'll probably buy this myself. Smartgym is available in Canada from Gwen Rose at Wheels of Fitness. You can call Gwen at 416-391-4646 or toll free at 1-877-963-9637. The website is


The most innovative thing about the Skylink Swing Door Opener is the price. In the past, electric door openers have cost $2,500. The Skylink costs less than $500 installed. It comes with a remote control keychain and is easily installed with a screwdriver and pliers. Skylink's Canadian office is in Brampton at 905-456-8883. The website is


Here's a great product that offers improved safety at a very reasonable cost. Many people have difficulty getting in and out of cars and into a wheelchair. You can easily slip and fall. Handybar is a device that hooks onto the U-shaped striker on the car door frame. This will fit any car and gives you a second handle to hold on to. This offers increased support and safety. And Handybar retails at only $55. That's a small price to pay for what this product delivers. To find a dealer near you, contact the Canadian distributor AER Solutions in Oakville at 905-901-3180 or toll free at 1-866-818-0190. Their website is



One of the problems with receiving Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits is if one gets a job and discontinues CPP benefits, it's very difficult to get those benefits back. So CPP has instituted automatic reinstatement. The basic concept is that if you start work, you have a two year period where if your disability recurrs, you fill out a form, your doctor fills out a form and you can get back on CPP Disability. For more info contact CPP at 1-800-277-9914. The website is


This law is being implemented with the goal of making Ontario completely accessible by the year 2025. We all know how important this is and the best thing to do is get your own copy of the proposed act by calling 416-326-0207 in Toronto or call toll free at 1-888-520-5828. the website is


On November 1, 2006, the Ontario Disability Support Program will impement improvements designed to help clients find work and keep more of what they earn. This will include employment startup benefits and increased child care support. The requirements are a little complicated and difficult to explain. The best thing is to contact the ODSP at 416-325-0693 or toll free at 1-888-789-4199 and get your own copy of the changes.



Jerry Ford is a parapelegic from Orillia who has started Citizens With Disabilities-Ontario so the disabled in Ontario can tell their stories and speak for themselves. Membership is free for the disabled and is available from Jerry at He also wants to create an inclusive and accessible Canada. He has created the website so you can tell your story and sign an online declaration which will be presented at a special forum at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on November 2, 2006.

This is just a small sampling of the products and services I found at this year's People In Motion show. Next year's show is on June 1 & 2 at the Queen Elizabeth Building at the CNE in Toronto. The show website is Make plans now to attend and I'll see you there next year.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Clyde McPhatter
Song:A Lover's Question
Album:Deep Sea Ball:The Best of Clyde McPhatter

Like a lot of R & B greats, Clyde McPhatter grew up singing in church. His father was a preacher in Durham, NC and his mom played church organ. After stints with Billy Ward & The Dominoes and The Drifters, McPhatter went in the service and went out on his own in 1954. He made some great records for Atlantic and A Lover's Question was probably his biggest hit in 1958. McPhatter left Atlantic in 1962 and bounced around various record companies but never could duplicate his Atlantic success. Deep Sea Ball is a good comp of his Atlantic recordings. McPhatter died of a heart attack in 1972 at age 39 due to alcohol & depression problems.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Matt Kenseth wins Dover Nextel Cup race

Today's NASCAR Nextel Cup race had a very exciting finish pitting old tires vs new tires. The new tires won. Dover Downs is very similar to Bristol except it's a mile long and known as the Monster Mile. The Neighborhood Excellence 400 started with Ryan Newman & Jeremy Mayfield on the front row.

Tony Stewart-#20 Powerade Chevy was still recovering from last week's broken scapula. Tony needed to start the race to get the driver points so he started the race and was replaced by NASCAR veteran Ricky Rudd at the first pit stop. Rudd retired (sort of) after last season and this was his first race of 2006. After the driver change, Rudd was penalized for speeding on pit road at lap 210. He finished two laps down in 25th. It is not known if Stewart will race next week in Pocono.

Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy spun in qualifying and stated in the back. Also, because Dover only has 42 pits, Johnson had to share a pit stall with Scott Wimmer-#4 Aero Exhaust Chevy. When Hermie Sadler-#00 Chevy dropped out of the race on lap 136, Wimmer took over his pit stall. Johnson got a lap down early in the race and then spun out but somehow got back on the lead lap and finished sixth. I guess that's how you win championships.

The turning point of the race was when caution came out on lap 299. Kevin Lepage-#49 State Water Heaters Dodge dropped fluid on the track and Elliott Sadler-#38 M & M's Ford spun out in the fluid and hit the wall. In the ensuing pit stops, Jamie McMurray-#26 Irwin Industrial Tools Ford stayed out and took the lead. His crew chief Bob Osborne thought there would be enough caution laps to get the win by fuel mileage. But could he hold off the cars with fresher tires? Kevin Harvick-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy took fuel only and was second.

Harvick, Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy & Matt Kenseth-#17 DeWalt Tools Ford were gunning for McMurray. Kenseth finally passed Harvick for second with six laps left. Then he passed McMurray for the win with three laps left. It's a tough loss for McMurray because he's had problems this season and hasn't won a race since October 2002 in Charlotte when he filled in for the injured Sterling Marlin.

Congratulations to Matt Kenseth, crew chief Robbie Reiser & car owner Jack Roush. The second place finish was McMurray's best finish this year. Johnson still leads the points standings. The Nextel Cup boys are in Pocono, PA next week and the Busch Series is in Nashville. Plenty of frequent flyer miles for anyone running both races. Here's the top ten of today's race.

1.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush
2.26/Jamie McMurray/Irwin Industrial Tools/Ford/Jack Roush
3.29/Kevin Harvick/GM Goodwrench/Chevy/Richard Childress
4.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
5.5/Kyle Busch/Kellogg's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
6.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
7.9/Kasey Kahne/UAW-Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham
8.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush
9.6/Mark Martin/AAA Insurance/Ford/Jack Roush
10.8/Dale Earnhardt Jr./Budweiser/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Stevie Wonder
Song:You Haven't Done Nothing
Album:Fullfillingness First Finale

Of course Stevie Wonder is recognized as a true genius of R & B and this album was released at the height of his talent in 1974. You really can't go wrong with any of Stevie's music in the early to mid 70s. He was responsible for some of the best songs ever. I don't know what happened to him. He seemed to lose something in the 80s and hasn't got it back.

After reviewing my material from the People In Motion show, I've changed my mind and will just write one piece about it. No big deal. Just changed the concept a bit. I'll write it tomorrow.

PWE Elite Diamond results

Here's a link to DOI's Sean McCaffery's report on last night's PWE Diamond show in Union City, NJ. It kind of confirms what we already knew, that this attempt at a womens promotion is run by either idiots or scumbags. The latter is more likely. There is no excuse for these jerks to continue to advertise Shantelle Taylor in the main event when they've known for two weeks that she wasn't coming. And then to use the lame "transportation problems" excuse like they didn't know. That's just plain dishonest. And the show itself looks like a train wreck with 25 (!) fans in attendance. SHIMMER's Dave Prazak has been criticized by some for hiring decisions. But at least Dave has been upfront & honest in informing fans when "stuff" happens and he has to change the card. So I will continue to support SHIMMER and the jerks that run Diamond can take a hike.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jeff Burton wins Dover Susch Series race

Rain cancelled qualifying at Saturday's 200 Busch Series race at Dover, DE. So Kevin Harvick was on the pole via owners points and there would be a lot of good cars in the back of the field.

Carl Edwards-#60 iLevel Trus Joists Ford led the early part of the race. The turning point of the race came when Steve Park-#31 Whelan Engineering Chevy hit the wall and brought out the caution. Leader Edwards pitted but Clint Bowyer-#2 AC Delco Chevy stayed out and took the lead. Jeff Burton-#29 Holiday Inn Chevy, Kurt Busch-#39 Penske Truck Leasing & Ron Hornaday-#33 Outdoor Channel Chevy also stayed out. So would fresh tires give Edwards the win?

Busch & Burton passed Bowyer. Then while Burton had caught up to Busch and was trying to pass him, Edwards moved up to challenge both of them. Burton finally passed Busch with 18 laps remaining but was able to hold off Edwards for the win. Edwards was second, Busch third, & Bowyer fourth. Kevin Harvick finished 13th and still has a big points lead.

Natsuki*Head to Flash 7

Sakura Emi announced that Natsuki*Head will leave the Gatounyakan promotion and will join Nanae Takahashi's Flash 7 office AKA Dream Catchers. I don't know if she is keeping that name. Under her real name Nizumo Mizushima, Natsuki*Head trained at All Japan Women and wrestled there from Feb. to Aug. 2004. This is a good move for Natsuki*Head.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Arlo Guthrie
Song:Alice's Restaurant Massacree
Album:The Best of Arlo Guthrie

As the son of folksinging icon Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie grew up around his dad's folkie pals like Pete Seeger. But because Arlo surfaced as a performer in the late 60s, he added loopy humour and counterculture references to the standard social commentary of contemporaries like Tom Paxton & Phil Ochs. Alice's Restaurant is supposedly a true story that turned Arlo into a cult figure because it was 18 minutes long. He even starred in the film version directed by Arthur Penn. This comp is probably the best way to get it because it also includes Arlo's hit version of Steve Goodman's City Of New Orleans. Also Guthrie is still around recording on his own Rising Son label. But Alice's Restaurant is his legacy.

I had a great time at the People In Motion show yesterday. My plan is to write a couple of articles about the show; an overview and also a look at new products & new government regulations. But I have to talk to Bev at the CPA before I do that and I will talk to her on Monday. The deadline is the end of next week but I'm not concerned about that as I already know what I want to write. I just have to type it out. I just want to make sure it's OK to do a series of articles first.

Mark Martin wins Dover Craftsman Truck race

SPEED decided to run Friday's AAA Insurance 200 Craftsman Truck race at Dover, DE on a tape delay basis in prime time. This is the first time they've done that and I'm not sure if they will do that again. David Reutimann won the pole but any race Mark Martin is in makes him the favourite.

Kyle Busch-#51 National Land Liquidators Chevy dominated the first part of the race but lost his chance for the win when he was black flagged when one of his hood pins came out. Busch finished tenth.

This gave Mark Martin-#6 Scott's Miracle Gro Ford the lead. David Reutimann-#17 Toyota took two tires on his final pit stop to take the lead but Martin easily retook the lead after the restart and won the race. Carl Edwards-#50 Ortho Ford had problems in the pits or likely would have won. He finished second. Todd Bodine still leads the points race.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Match added to June 30 Smackgirl show

Smackgirl has added a match to their June 30 show at Korakuen Hall. It features teenage karate prodigy Madoka Okada who is already 3-0 in MMA competition. Yuka Kobayashi is also scheduled to appear but her match has yet to be announced. Here's the updated card. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds unless otherwise noted.

SMACKGIRL - 6/30/06 - Korakuen Hall
58KG BOUT-Madoka Okada vs Yui Tatsubun
OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Youko Takahashi vs Michiko Takeda
WINNER TAKE ALL 52KG BOUT-3 5 min. rounds-Yuka Tsuji vs WINDY Tomomi

Megumi Yabushita starts Team Tomoe-gumi

As many fans are aware, the SOD Dojo closed the other day and head trainer Megumi Yabushita and her partner Youko Takahashi needed to find a new place. They have taken out space in the Fang Gym and are calling their new team Tomoe-gumi. The name is apparently a reference to a female military general who supposedly played an active role in the Heian period of Japanese history, noted for being the peak of the Japanese Imperial Court. I don't know about Japanese military history but I do know that Yabushita & Takahashi are currently accepting applications from potential trainees. Good luck on their new venture.

Anniversary shows

Nanae Takahashi has announced that her tenth anniversary show will be on July 14 at Shinjuku FACE. First On Stage is managing the show for her. They are the parent company of Zero-One.

Manami Toyota has announced that her twentieth anniversary show will be on August 6 at Korakuen Hall.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Joe Jackson
Song:Is She Really Going Out With Him?
Album:Look Sharp

Like his contemporary Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson started out as part of the 70s punk rock scene but branched out into all kinds of music. Jackson was discovered by A & M Records producer David Kershenbaum. This 1979 debut album wasn't a big chart success but it did appeal to music fans who also liked Costello & Graham Parker. Is She Really Going Out With Him was the first single and is typical of the angst ridden love songs on Look Sharp. Jackson has been all over the musical map with reggae, jazz and more recently classically influenced music. At least he's different but his early music wasn't that unusual and some fans still identify him with that sound.

I am going today to the People In Motion show at the CNE and I will write about it for the CPA magazine Outspoken. Hope to see you all down there.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Futami challenges Kumiko Maekawa

T-1 president Futami held another one of his infamous press conferences to promote the T-1 GP show June 24 at Battle Sphere. Sachie Abe is on the show and was at the press conference as Futami was upset that she didn't show at the last one. Futami announced that Abe will team with Yasusato Nakajima and a partner to be named against T-1 Mask No.1, T-1 Mask No. 2 and the infamous Shark Tsuchiya. Why doesn't Shark get a mask? Of course many fans are familiar with Shark from her FMW days. She's probably one of the most hated of joshi wrestlers because of her garbage wrestling background. She hasn't changed. She still does that stuff.

Then Futami said the main reason for the press conference is that he has unfinished business with the now retired Kumiko Maekawa. He said she sneaked out of the joshi business before he had a chance to get his hands on her and Futami wants Maekawa to come out of retirement for one time only so he can fight her. And it looks like he wants to do a shootfight as opposed to a wrestling match. Not that it matters because Futami isn't trained to do anything. Futami then proceeded to describe Maekawa as the ringleader of the decline of joshi and if he doesn't crush her, everyone will regret it. He also said something about getting DEEP to sanction the match. The guy is losing it. I don't know if Kumiko Maekawa will return for a match with Futami. However, after Futami finished his rant Sachie Abe looked at him like he was insane. It does look like it was an angle as Sachie posted something on her blog about the press conference and it was subsequently taken down. This should be good for a laugh regardless.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Lizz Wright
Song:Get Together
Album:Dreaming Wide Awake

Occasionally a young singer comes along and makes a big splash. Lizz Wright is a jazz/R & B singer from the Atlanta area and her first album on Verve in 2003 targetted her as a singer to watch similar to India.Arie & Cassandra Wilson. Her cover of the old Youngbloods hit Get Together from her 2005 follow up does what covers are supposed to do. It reinvents it in a fresh way. Lizz is starting to write her own songs now so as time goes on she will likely become more involved in the production of her music. She has a very bright future.